My instruction this week from my vocal teacher is to sing loud and proud and I'll probably be wrong on more notes than usual. It's not bad advice since I tend to sing really quietly for fear of screwing up. I'll never be able to sing louder until I do it and discover where my problems are.
But it also makes me think about stage managing in an odd sort of way. I went to a party on Saturday night at the home of a friend with whom I worked at People's Light and Theater Co (out in Malvern, PA). I didn't stage manage there, I worked in the Education Department. But, stage managing called again and I couldn't stay away. I spend half my life trying not to stage manage; I love doing it but the hours suck.
At this party, I ran into another stage manager and we traded war stories which sent me down memory lane. I've been lucky enough to have had several people tell me to my face that I am a good stage manager. When I hear this compliment I always chuckle because I think to myself, I hope I'm at least half way decent with all the mistakes I made. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the compliment since an SM's work is not always noticed. But I am one of those creatures who learns by fucking up. And sometimes, fucking up big.
Here's a quick example: years and years ago, while I was still in college, I held an entire audience in black for 90 seconds because I hadn't bothered to check with backstage to make sure the actor was ready to get into his place. He was still in the dressing room. To this day, if a cast has to get into place in a blackout, I have to time it because I will jump the gun.
And, I still screw up occasionally (at least I hope it's only occasionally), and I think to myself, Seriously Kate, really? You didn't know better? But it's always a learning process with new situations to encounter and (bringing it all back home) new notes to sing.
So what I find pretty funny is that I am more than willing to mess up as a stage manager when it affects other people but I'm too scared to sing loudly in the comfort of my own home.
But now it's time to get over my bad self. If you hear anything weird coming out of Glenside, PA, in the next few weeks it's just me singing, loud, and proud, and probably wrong.